“Guys, I might have to end radio early. My friend might not be able to drive me and I need to catch the bus down to New York.”
It was February 1st at around 4:30pm. Halfway through my make-up radio session, unexpected issues came up and I needed to bus down to New York City. Asking fellow listeners on the shoutbox, I was fretting over which bus to take. One came at 5pm and the next one was at 9pm, arriving at 1:30am and 4:30am respectively. If I took the 5pm bus, I would be forced to rush out of my dorm and catch a taxi that would take me to the bus station. I am so glad my fellow SONEs pushed me to take the 5pm bus, or else I probably would have never made it to the fan signing event.
4:40pm: Time was running out, and of course there had to be a road closure. My driver was forced to take a detour, and I was literally sitting at the edge of my seat rushing him to go faster. Missing this bus was not an option. At 4:55pm, I ran into the station and purchased my bus ticket. Out of breath and frantically looking for the boarding gate, I had just embarked on my second adventure to New York City. Security looked through my bag to make sure I wasn’t carrying anything illegal, and I asked them if this was the lineup for the 5pm bus to New York. And because everyone loves to troll me, the security man said that I was now in line for the 9pm bus. I nearly fainted on the spot until he said he was only kidding. Thank goodness. As we waited in line, we were informed that the bus was running a little late. We boarded around 5:15pm, and of course I was the last person in line.
The ride down was pretty plain. I slept, and when I could, tweeted. While standing in line for the US customs, I met a girl who was in the same bus as me and heading for the fan sign as well. Since I was wearing a pink hooding with Girls’ Generation printed on the front, I could easily be spotted as a SONE. I regret not asking her name even though we talked for quite a bit. I ended up seeing her right in front of me while we were waiting in line for our wristbands. But anyway, after crossing the border, that’s when things started getting stressful. The bus driver told us we were around an hour behind schedule, meaning we would arrive in New York City around 2:30am instead of 1:30am. While all this was happening, I heard from people online that a lineup was already being formed at the Best Buy center. No way. I had to make it within the 300 people limit. I just had to. There was no way I would go home empty handed. Slowly watching the time passing on my phone, I finally drifted off into dreamland. Suddenly, at 1:30am, all the lights turned on and people began packing their belongings. The bus driver had made up for the lost time on the highway, and we had arrived in New York City without any delay! Grabbing my jacket and my backpack, I ran for the exit of the bus terminal where Alena (ketchupcool@soshified) was waiting for me. The two of us met during SMTown NYC back in October and it was great to see her again. After a big hug and “oh my God it’s so good to see you again”, we headed for the subway station and our next stop: Union Square. Since I didn’t have a Metro card, Alena decided to swipe hers twice, but because we have the worst luck ever, we were 5 cents short. After a short delay where Alena went to refill her card, we boarded a train where we sat down and chatted. Engrossed in our conversation and spazzing about our excitement to see Girls’ Generation again, we got off at the wrong stop. Thankfully, Alena realized this fast, and we ran back into the train just moments before the doors closed on us.
Best Buy Store with a huge lineup....all day errday!
After getting off the train in Union Square, the two of us made a beeline to the Best Buy center where a long lineup had already been formed and was scaling around the block. SONEs were sitting, standing, and lying down on the street in a queue, waiting. It was only 2am and roughly 200 people had already gathered. Speeding up, Alena and I followed the line until we reached the end. All I can say is SONEs are hardcore. No joke. Some brought card games and played sitting on the cold concrete ground while others had chairs, blankets and were taking a quick power naps. We secured our spot in the lineup, and that’s when we met up with Wendy (Iwen@soshified) and Bridgeen (bridgeeny@soshified). I also met Bridgeen during SMTown NYC and it was great seeing her again too! It was my first time meeting Wendy and she is one awesome girl! Since both of us were hungry, Bridgeen took us to look for food while Alena held our spots in line. After buying pizza and a meat pie looking thing, we walked back to our place in line. It was perfect timing because we got there right when a guy was in the process of giving out numbers. Since Wendy and Bridgeen had begun lining up before us, they had apparently received numbers that held their spot in line. The number 179 was written in black on the back of my hand. (On a side note, these numbers meant nothing. When we started filing into the Best Buy store, I turned out to be 208.)
It was around 3am now, and we had a lot of time on our hands. Apparently we were told to start lining up at 5am, but because many SONEs wanted to secure their spot for this event, we had made an unofficial queue. It was quite chilly outside, especially with the wind. My hands were freezing, but thankfully, Bridgeen asked her friend to give me a little heat pack. I clutched onto the little pouch, rolling it around my hands and feeling the warmth radiating. Zipping up my jacket and pulling up my hood, I sat down on the ground and began eating my food. From this experience, I can confidently say that I am a professional hobo now. This night, I ate while sitting on the ground and leaning on the wall of the Best Buy store. I also slept on the streets for around 30 minutes before waking up with an extremely sore and stiff neck. Thankfully, the pain went away rather quickly after I began moving my neck around.
Both Wendy and I were extremely cold, so in the end, we decided to go hunt for a blanket. Inside the 24 hour convenience store, they were all sold out. Instead, I bought a toothbrush that I was sure would come in handy later. The two of us walked around, pretending to browse the store because it was so incredibly warm in there. Neither of us wanted to leave. While mindlessly walking around, we found a group of SONEs sitting near the pharmacy area. Apparently they were taking advantage of the heat too!
Deciding that it would be best to head back, we left the store and braced ourselves for the cold. Finally, it was around 5am when we were informed by security that we would be let into the store, 25 people at a time. This is when things started getting a little bit hectic. Many more people began arriving at this hour thinking that a lineup would begin to form only now. Two people tried to cut behind my group while pretending to be on the phone. Thankfully, they were not successful. However, people had indeed budged in front of us because I was counted at 208 upon entering the store. While waiting outside, we believed that they were letting 25 people in, having them purchase their copy of The Boys, and letting them go. Apparently not. Another lineup was in the process of being formed inside the store. At least it was warmer inside and the floor was carpeted. I was so tired at this point that I made a pillow and shoulder rest out of two DVD players. Just as I was about to close my eyes, an employee came around and told me not to lean on the products. Heaving myself into a sitting position, I looked around to see several people already dozing off. Finally, being unable to handle this anymore, I moved one DVD player out of the way and rested my head on the second one. I don’t know how long I slept for, but I was woken up by a security guard who told us that the line was finally moving. We got our CDs around 7 something and were told to come back around 5pm to line up for the actual event. Alena and I used this time to go home and clean up after an entire night of bumming around. I was later informed that around 1000 people had tried to line up for a wristband. To have made it within the 300 people limit was certainly not an easy feat, but our reward for all this would be amazing and unforgettable.
Almost time for the fan sign!! Next level hype!
Alena and I spent the afternoon around Union Square, being very sketchy people. We feared that SONEs would begin forming a queue for the actual event, several hours earlier, just like the night before. We constantly checked back to Best Buy, and we become very paranoid when we found several different groups of SONEs roaming inside Best Buy. Going back to Best Buy every hour, we used the time in between to eat and buy Sharpies at Staples. Alena and I went to Max Brenner, a restaurant nearby that made amazing chocolate desserts and very delicious meals. Wendy and her friend joined us later. Around 4pm, we were told that people had already begun lining up, so we quickly paid the bill and ran for Best Buy. Two metal barricades had been placed parallel to each other, forming a walkway for customers of Best Buy to enter and exit. SONEs had begun crowding around those barricades. Some were holding up posters, and the occasional song was sung by the crowd. Things were starting to get rowdy once the Girls’ Generation bus was spotted across the street. It only parked for a bit before heading down the block and disappearing from sight. At about 5:30-6pm, a man came out and told us that only people with yellow wristbands would be able to enter the building. Everyone else was instructed to wait outside. SONEs tried to be civilized and not push, but the sheer excitement and large number of people wasn’t making anything easier for us. People began weighing down my backpack and I was being sandwiched between other SONEs. Finally, after showing them my wristband, I slipped through the glass doors with Alena and Wendy following right behind me. Unfortunately, Bridgeen was not feeling well and couldn’t stay for the event (Girl, during the summer, we will make up for this. Promise!). Once in the store, it was not surprising to find ourselves in another lineup. The final lineup. At this point, I had been queuing for around 9 hours in total. The lack of sleep and too much walking was finally taking its toll on my body as I pushed it to the limit. While waiting in line, Alena, Wendy and I started talking to girls behind us: Lisa and Lucero. Lucero was one of the lucky people chosen to have her picture taken with Girls’ Generation! When her name was announced, all of us were so happy for her! She had attended all 4 events, and she totally deserved it!! Congratulations!
As we waited for the event to start, someone has used one of the in-store computers and began blasting various Girls’ Generation music videos. We sang along a bit, but I was mostly too busy trying to cool down my face which was flushed like a tomato. Unfortunately, no luck, and my cheeks remained pink for as long as I was in the building for. Funny thing that happened during the wait was when two random people tried to cut behind us in line again. There was a gap between my group and Lisa’s group so people who were not taking part in the event could still browse around the store. The first time, a girl wearing a very pink jacket stood behind me quietly. I knew exactly what she was trying to pull off, so I continuously stared at her, making her very uncomfortable. In the beginning, she tried to look away and pretend not to notice me, but as time progressed, she slowly turned around to face me before quickly looking away again. This nonsense had to stop. I told her that the lineup didn’t start here, and she could only enter the fan sign if she had the yellow wristband which of course wasn’t present on her arm. In a futile attempt to act innocent, she told me that she was looking for the bathroom which was very close to where we were standing. It also had a bright yellow sign that had the word “closed” written in big bold capital letters. Playing along, I told her the bathrooms were closed, and she replied me with “uhh, well I was shopping for electronics”. You don’t say. After giving her a very neutral reply, she finally left. The second person was a man dressed like he had just rushed here from work. He stood behind me, and I proceeded to stare at him again before telling him that the lineup didn’t start here. He asked about why people were lining up and what was happening tonight. I’m pretty sure he knew exactly what was going on and that he was a SONE as well. After telling him that only people with wristbands could get in, he left the lineup and probably Best Buy as well.
As time went by, all of us started organizing our things, taking out what we wanted to have signed and putting away what wasn’t needed into our bags. At some point during the wait, we were told that only The Boys CD was allowed to be signed, and nothing else. We found this very disappointing because the US version was very plain and honestly, not worthy to be the chosen CD to have signed. Refusing to believe this, I kept that CD out as well as my Into The New World single that I brought with me from home. While we were waiting around, Lisa asked if any of us knew how to say “you are my favorite” in Korean. Alena pretended she didn’t know, and I asked Lisa if she wanted it in Japanese instead. Since it was too much of a mouthful to say, we finally got Alena to teach it to us in Korean. “Nae ga jaeil joha haneun –insert member’s name-”. Lisa wanted to say it to Taeyeon while I wanted to tell Yuri the exact same thing. The two of us began repeating the phrase over and over again, determined not to forget or stumble when we met the girls. Wendy and Alena then started trolling us by saying “nae ga jaeil jal naga”, just like the 2NE1 song. At one point while I was memorizing my phrase, I actually said that. Can you imagine how horrible it would be if I said that to Yuri? Thank goodness I didn’t and all went well! As 7pm neared, I began pacing around my lineup area, feeling the nervousness and excitement slowly building up inside. I couldn’t wrap my mind around all this, and I couldn’t believe it was actually happening. Suddenly, a loud cheer erupted from the front of the line. Girls’ Generation had arrived in Best Buy and was getting ready to start the signing!! Jumping up and down from where I was standing, I tried to see ahead of me, but the mob of people blocked everything from my view. Then the line began to move. I began shaking with excitement as I tried to remain composed. This was really happening. In mere minutes, I would be standing in front of Taeyeon, Sunny, Hyoyeon, Tiffany, Sooyoung, Yuri, Yoona and Seohyun. (Jessica couldn't attend the event because she had to leave in order to film her drama) I would be inches apart of them, breathing in the same air as them. As we shuffled along, I was finally able to see the table where Girls’ Generation was sitting, and the first girl to come into view was Tiffany. I couldn’t help it. The fangirl in me took over and I screamed "OH MY GOD IT’S TIFFANY!!! HOLY CRAP SHE’S SO PRETTY!!!!!!!!!"
Tiffany signed her own page!! She is such an angel <3
One by one, people went to meet Girls’ Generation until finally, it was my turn. The security guard told us to put away all our cameras and phones, and only have the album out for signing. I don’t remember if I powerwalked or ran to Tiffany because my entire was focused solely on her. Her hair was up in a ponytail and slightly curled. Her face was glowing. Her makeup was perfect and I felt like I was staring into the eyes of a goddess. Pictures and videos don’t do her justice. Not anymore. She was perfect, and when she smiled and said hi, I felt like the luckiest person on earth. I had just witnessed Tiffany’s famous eye-smile up close. Since I had both the Into The New World single and The Boys out, security tried to force me to put away my Into The New World single, but Tiffany was able to save the day. She is such as angel. Ignoring what security was trying to do, she took the single and asks me “do you want this album to be signed?” Her voice was so incredible sweet, like a symphony or a bird’s song on a spring day. It was surreal to hear her talking in person, but what more, she was talking to me! I gave her my biggest smile and said “oh yes please!!” So she flipped to her page in the album, and as she was signing, we actually had a conversation together.
As she looked through the pages, Tiffany said, “I can’t believe you still have this album! This was so long ago! Wow!”
I was smiling from ear to ear, and my heart was thumping like crazy. Gathering my scattered mind, I replied Tiffany with, “Yeah, you girls came such a long way and I’m just so proud of all of you! Thank you so much for coming!!”
Tiffany finishes signing her name and passes the CD down the table. She looks at me and smiles again before saying thank you.
Forcing my legs to move, I tore my gaze away from Tiffany and my heart stopped. Next up was Hyoyeon and she was simple gorgeous! She was also such a kind girl, and the warmth in her eyes truly melts your heart. I said hello and thank you many times to her in Korean, and she responded to me, with perfect English, “thank you so much for coming”. Wow. Just wow. She sounded like a native speaker and her voice…oh my god. I was dying! This is a dream come true!
After Hyoyeon, I shuffled to the left and my eyes met Sooyoung’s. She said hello to me in English while I’m repeating hello and thank you in Korean to her like some crazy person. After signing my CD, just before moving on, I wished her a happy birthday to her in Japanese. Sooyoung looked up and smiled at me before releasing a small chuckle and saying thanks!
The next girl left me speechless. I honestly couldn’t say anything more than hello and thank you. Yoona brightly waves at me and flashes me a genuine smile that I thought I could only witness on my computer screen. I wave back and continue staring at her in awe. She glows, simply yet it’s compelling.
Maknae Seohyun was up next, and you know how she is very good at messing up our bias lists? Well, she just did that to me in person. After waving at her and smiling ridiculously, I told her “Seohyun unnie, kamsahabnida”, and I was just fangirling right in front of her. After signing her name, she looks up at me, gives me an amused smile and says “aww you’re so cute!” I pretty much just died on the spot. I couldn’t believe that Seohyun had just called me cute!!!!! Then, I suddenly remembered that Seohyun understood Chinese so I told her “xie xie”. Before she could reply, Sunny pokes her head in and says in the most bubbly and excited voice ever, “xie xie!!!” I merely stood, rooted in place. I was lost in a dream I never wanted to wake up from.
When Sunny and I locked gazes, I immediately felt like a kid again. She gave me a super excited wave and I couldn’t help but to grin and wave back! She looks stunning in person, and it’s no lie when people call her the Energy Pill.
Next to Sunny was Taeyeon, and when my eyes fell upon her face, my heart skipped a beat. She was so beautiful and perfect in every way. She looks up at me and says hi as I continue blabbing my hello and thank you. Finally, at the last second, I tell her “Taeyeon unnie, hwaitaeng!” And I do a mini fist pump which she returned!!!! Taeyeon flashes me one of her dorky smiles before I move to the last girl sititing at the edge of the table. Taeyeon will forever be a kid. So damn cute!
They don’t kid me when they say they’re saving the best for last! The love of my life sits at the very end and she is none other than Kwon Yuri. Looking up, she smiles at me before proceeding to sign the album. Amidst my blabbing, I remember my phrase that I had been madly repeating. “Yuri unnie” I call out as she finishes signing. She looks up at me and that is my signal to start. “Nae ga jaeil joha haneun, Yuri unnie”. I didn’t stumble. I didn’t forget my line or say the wrong thing. Yuri flashes me one of those stunning YulSmiles and my legs feel weak. Before I had a chance to recover, security quickly ushers me out. Grabbing my album, I am unable to contain my excitement any longer. I am on the verge of crying. I have never felt so happy in my life. Soy sees me leaving and tells me she still owes me ice cream. She asks me how was the entire experience, and I practically yelled back “THIS IS SO FREAKING SURREAL!!!!!” Alena and I met up, and I tell her that I am going to cry. The Best Buy employees heard us, and they told us “no you can’t cry!! This is supposed to be a happy event!!” It was a happy event, one of the happiest moments in my life. As soon as I leave the building, I began fangirling and spazzing at the top of my lungs. I didn’t care if I’m making a scene. I didn’t care if people are staring at me. I am too happy to care about anything, and I still couldn’t believe this actually happened. I saw Girls’ Generation up close and personal, held a conversation with Tiffany, made eye contact with all 8 of them, and had Seohyun call me cute. Unbelievable. Seriously. As my spazzings progressed, I feel the tears in my eyes that I am unable to contain. I was overwhelmed with joy. I don’t believe the event lasted over 5 minutes for me, but the amount of excitement and happiness it brought to me made everything worth it. I would gladly have waited in line for another 9 hours or even more if a chance like this were to come again. The moment Tiffany came into my sight when I was in line, I knew it was all worth it. Somehow, with Girls’ Generation, there are never any regrets. And that is just one of the little things that make me treasure this fandom even more, every single day.
Money cannot buy you happiness. Money cannot buy you memories.
As Wendy, Lisa, Tommy and many other people came out of Best Buy, we repeatedly spazzed at each other, sharing our unique experiences with each girl. Since they were still letting people with no wristbands in for the event, we decided to try our luck and line up again. Maybe there was a chance to get another set of autographs. However, that idea was quickly dismissed as people began swarming around Girls’ Generation’s bus. Before we knew it, a crowd so big, it clogged up the entire street, had been formed. Cars beeped their horns at us in anger but SONEs didn’t care. Our mob only continued growing. Cellphone lights and camera flashes illuminated the night, and cheers erupted the moment Girls’ Generation started filing into the bus. They waved at us, danced around with hearts over their heads and smiled at the scene before them. Tiffany and Taeyeon took out their phones and began taking pictures. Which idol do you know takes pictures of their fans? Shouldn’t it be the other way around? No, it’s always a mutual reciprocation between Girls’ Generation and SONEs. It is what makes this fandom so amazing. We will always be fans of each other.
Girls' Generation's bus that we were crowding around after the fan signing event
Unfortunately, the crowd was becoming so big that police had been called upon to herd us all to the sidewalk. Apparently this was the first time Best Buy had to call the police for help since Lady Gaga was here. Girls’ Generation's popularity is matching up to Lady Gaga. So amazing!! So as we watched the girls through the front windows of the bus, its engine roared to life and through a sea of screaming fans, Girls’ Generation’s bus drove out into the night. After all this, Alena and I met up with Tommy and Wendy again. We walked around before stumbling into Cali SONEs. This time, I was able to meet Jon (MoonSoshi9@soshified). He was the only white guy in the crowd, and he was also wearing a Sunny cap. Making some calculated guesses, I poked him and asked “are you Jon?”. So a bunch of us took several taxis to k-town where we sat down for a big meal to celebrate a long and stressful, but hugely rewarding day. Whenever SONEs meet, we always want to go noraebang together, and that’s exactly what we did after dinner. Partying with SONEs is always pretty next level! As we sang our hearts out and bonded with one another well into the night, we have created memories that will last a lifetime. The following day, Alena took me to the bus station and I was back in Montreal 8 hours later.
We may have just met, but they are already part of my SONE family
Thank you to everyone who, once again, made this trip unforgettable for me. New York City will always have a special place in my heart as the city where I was able to live out my dreams and meet some of the most amazing people in this world. To Alena, Bridgeen, Wendy, James, Lisa, Victoria, Nelson, Michelle, Ricky, Tommy, Jacky, Cindy, Jon, all the people who helped organize the fan signing event, and to the many SONEs I talked to while lining up, you guys are amazing!!!
Thank you for taking the time to read this super long fan account (:
As long as you're still a SONE, we will definitely meet one day.